In a likely preview of GOP strategy should its pursuit of President Joe Biden go beyond the inquiry stage, Garland repeatedly stated during testimony Wednesday that he did not interfere in the investigation in Hunter Biden's business practices.
House Republicans have released bank records, whistleblower testimony and more evidence that they say ties the president to his son and could rise to the level of the Constitution's standard of treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors for impeachment.
Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wisconsin) said on American Family Radio that while Garland's appearance was "largely an exercise in frustration," there were moments in which the AG connected some dots for Republicans. Just as important, he connected them on the record for the American people.
The day's biggest gains may have been on the subject of David Weiss, who Garland appointed as special counsel into the probe of Hunter Biden in spite of Weiss having previously served as the investigator in Hunter Biden's business dealings.
Weiss, a U.S. attorney from Delaware, also has a long history with the Biden family. He worked with the late Beau Biden, Hunter Biden's brother, when Beau Biden served as attorney general in Delaware. Before Weiss was appointed special counsel, he put together the "sweetheart deal" for Hunter Biden on gun and tax charges that was ultimately rejected by a federal judge.
"The judge saw through it and smelled a rat and said, 'Hey, we're not going to take this deal,'" Congressman Tiffany explained. "Then Merrick Garland says, this same David Weiss, who tried to cut the sweetheart deal, 'We're going to have him oversee as special counsel for the Biden case.'
"I think as the public understands more and more that David Weiss is not a legitimate special counsel, [they'll realize] he's there to run out the clock – and I believe we're advancing the ball slowly in that regard," Tiffany told show host Jenna Ellis.
Committee members say they exposed inconsistencies
Wednesday evening, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) said on Washington Watch that the committee exposed inconsistencies in Garland's testimony about his relationship with Weiss.
"… My questioning [of Garland about Weiss] focused on 'How can you say that you don't know the answers to these questions because Weiss is so independent – and yet, you're providing answers when you say that that this happened before your tenure?'"
The attorney cannot have it both ways, said Biggs. "If it happened under a previous tenure, then [Garland] really wouldn't know anything; and yet [he's] giving us answers. I think we exposed him in many ways – and in my opinion his reputation for veracity took another big hit today," the Arizona congressman told show host Tony Perkins.
Biggs said Garland sidestepped questions about why charges against Hunter Biden of any sort took so long to materialize in light of the Justice Department's quick action to arrest parents at school board meetings or pro-life demonstrators at an abortion clinic.
"We were trying to get at that today. That was ultimately the point of my questioning. He was saying, 'That was Mr. Weiss' decision. He was the prosecutor in charge. He had all the authority, he could do whatever he wanted, and I just took a hands-off approach.' Yet, when I asked [Garland] a question about a certain event with a U. S. attorney going to the court providing information, he was able to tell us exactly what the court wanted, exactly how that was responded to. That was the same in multiple instances," Biggs noted.
Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan accused the Justice Department of not prosecuting Hunter Biden over tax issues when Biden was a board member for the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. Hunter Biden's special status has been made abundantly clear, Biggs said.
"They dragged their feet to basically get past the statute of limitations, to allow them to run out in a number of cases, the 14 and 15 tax fraud cases," Biggs continued. "And then on this rather simple case, they did nothing until … we announced that we were going to open up an impeachment inquiry – then those charges come.
"This is all indicative that this is politically motivated on the part of the Attorney General," Biggs stated.
The day wasn't all about Weiss
In one hotly contested exchang,e Garland clashed with Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-New Jersey) over the targeting of Catholic churches in an FBI search for radical extremists.
"Attorney General, through the chair, I ask you, do you agree that traditional Catholics are violent extremists?" Van Drew asked.
Garland cited his history as a community volunteer from a close-knit family and acted offended that he would be asked such a question. "The idea that someone with my family background would discriminate against any religion, is so outrageous, so absurd," Garland said.
"It was your FBI that was sending, and we have the memos, we have the emails, were sending undercover agents into Catholic churches," Van Drew pointed out.
Garland would never answer the extremist question but only said both he and FBI director Christopher Wray were "appalled" by the memo.
Tiffany described Garland as someone controlled by operators behind curtains in places the public doesn't see.
"Why do people stonewall who are witnesses like Merrick Garland? Why do they not answer questions? Because then they're exposed to the public; and then the public knows where they stand.
"Merrick Garland has a really big problem with an FBI and a Department of Justice that I don't believe is run by him," Tiffany said, "and they are really of an extreme ideology that have been put in these positions as career DOJ employees.
"Eric Holder started it back in the Obama administration, and they are in there deep – and they are advancing their ideology. Merrick Garland is just their front man," he added.
Republicans are still collecting evidence
Democrats have scoffed at evidence presented by House Republicans, and others have asked why the investigation is taking so long. Tiffany defended the slow and deliberate pace, saying it's important to continue to build the case for Americans outside the Washington, DC, bubble.
"We just need to continue to expose these things for the American people …. Remember, about half the American people have no idea this stuff is going on if they get their news from the nightly news. Many people still do. I really do think that we've handled this appropriately in the House of Representatives over the last three to four months," he said.
Republicans have said with their expanded powers in the impeachment inquiry phase that they expect the pace of the investigation to quicken.
"I think you're going to see a lot more stuff come out here. The walls are closing in around Joe Biden at this point," Tiffany said.